Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 10-12-2012, 09:06 AM   #1
2 Rivet Member
Currently Looking...
Dillon , South Carolina
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 78
Where to start when gutting an old Airstream?

Greetings Everyone:
I need your help. I am new to this so I want to do it all right. Where should I begin when gutting an old Air Stream? I want to gut it of everything so I can remove the flooring and inspect and repair the very rusted frame. I would appreciate any and all suggestions.
Thanks everyone,
Rodney in South Carolina

urb2165 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2012, 10:02 AM   #2
1 Rivet Member
North Charleston , South Carolina
Join Date: Oct 2012
Posts: 10
Sup Rodney.
I live in Charleston and go by Dillon regularly on my way to Laurinburg. I'd love to swing by sometime to check out your trailer. I'm redoing a 74 31' Excella 500.

HairCream is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2012, 11:15 AM   #3
Rivet Master
funkill's Avatar

1973 27' Overlander
Sparks , Nevada
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,384
Images: 27
Hi Rodney,

You'll find an overwhelming amount of info on this forum. Best thing to do is get familiar with the SEARCH function in the upper bar. Anything, absolutely anything you need to know has pretty much been discussed here. Just for some light reading (ha), SEARCH on "full monte" and you'll find some threads covering the whole process of redoing a vintage trailer. Photo's and all.

And here's a relatively new one - and Red is just blazing through the process:

Good luck. Laura

On Edit - I just notice you've had 73 posts.... would have figured you were elbow deep in the throws of a gut job!
funkill is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2012, 11:42 AM   #4
Rivet Master
Splitrock's Avatar
Currently Looking...
Sioux Falls , South Dakota
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,395
Blog Entries: 20
I started at the top. I replaced the OEM Air Conditioner, replaced all three ceiling vents with FanTastic fans, removed the television antenna, replaced the sewer vent gaskets and screens, replaced all the window and door gaskets, and sealed obvious problem areas like the awning rail and the seam lap joints.

Then I removed interior attachments, repaired a small frame section, installed some new floor wood, and installed new interior built-ins and appliances.
Click on the link to see a picture of the Sioux River falls near my home.
Eastern South Dakota is very pretty with hills, rivers, and trees.
Splitrock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10-12-2012, 06:36 PM   #5
4 Rivet Member
1955 22' Flying Cloud
mapleton , Utah
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 464
Start with pictures, lots of pictures. Then measure most of what you just took pictures of. You'll be glad you did later on. If you are contemplating a complete shell off, frame rebuild, floor replacement full monty then just start unbolting anything that will come loose keeping notes of which order it came off so you can reverse it when it is time to reinstall. Eventually you will run out of things that can/should be removed- sooner than you think really this is actually one of the really fun parts, DEMOLITION!!
Be sure to use respiratory filters as there is usually some incredibly nasty stuff in the walls and floor thanks to friendly insects and rodents.
Don't throw away any appliances, furnishings or hardware until you are darn sure you won't be reusing them or somebody else doesnt want them. You will be amazed at how many small parts are made of the legendary Unobtainium when you try to replace them later.
BTW we would LOVE to see some of those pictures when you get a chance.
rumrunner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2012, 03:18 AM   #6
2 Rivet Member
alumascoupe's Avatar
1966 26' Overlander
Frozen , Tundra
Join Date: Dec 2012
Posts: 85
I second rumrunner on the Pics, Digital makes it easy. If a picture is worth a thousand words, how long will you like your re-assembly manual to be?
Also the respirators are important. I found out AFTER I removed my floor tiles they were ASBESTOS !!! I also had lots of "rodent refuse" I showered in partially eaten walnuts, feces and insulation the days I removed my belly pan and interior insulation. If your belly pan rattles like a baby rattle when you tap it BEWARE Chip n' Dale have been there ( think disney, not dirty)
Depending where the rodents are from their remnants and dropping may be as deadly as the tiles so please use due caution and be nice to your lungs.
I removed my interior from the front working to the back figuring the rear bath would never fit past everything, and yes it does all fit out the door, head scratching and helpers may be required. Use the highest quality screwdriver you can find or you just strip stubborn screws even worse. I wore out all my "lesser" tools and in the end also wore down 2 new snap-on phillips, if the screw wont come out a hammer rap on the back of the driver might help break it free.
alumascoupe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2012, 04:29 AM   #7
Rivet Master
65CV's Avatar
1959 26' Overlander
Western , Massachusetts
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,360
Images: 6
In addition to lots of pics, I found it very useful to make videos with commentary. You might not remember everything in the pic or link it with your notes.

Also, I wasted a lot of time redrilling rivets when reassembling. After removing a panel that covers another (especially end caps), mark the rivets that you just removed. Then you won't have the hole blocked when you reinstall the last panels.

Finally, this thread has great links.

Good luck and plan on spending a surprising amount of time on the process.
65CV is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2012, 04:26 PM   #8
Rivet Master
InsideOut's Avatar

1956 22' Safari
Vintage Kin Owner
Conifer/Evergreen , Colorado
Join Date: Feb 2002
Posts: 11,740
Images: 97
Another vote for pictures! More than you think you will ever need - both before and during demo. Also, don't throw anything away. Keep it all for patterns & "go bys" for reference.

As far as actually what to tackle first, we always start with the structural things - the frame & floor, as well as making the shell sound....which means no leaks left to affect the work being completed.

Good luck, it's a lot of work - but very satisfying & rewarding when done (been there, done that, more than once!). And don't forget, take lots of pictures - pretty much overlapping shots of everything, you never know what you are going to want to have shot until months later when you are trying to put it all back together again. I can't tell you how many times we referred back to our photos both for ourselves & others.

Vintage Airstream Club - Past President 2007/2008
WBCCI #1824 - DenCO Unit Past President (2005)
AIR #30 - Join Date: 2-25-2002

RMVAC | WBCCI DenCO Unit | Sisters on the Fly | Tin Can Tourists
BIRDY - our 1956 Safari | 1964 Serro Scotty
InsideOut is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 12-29-2012, 04:44 PM   #9
Rivet Master
DaveFL's Avatar
2000 31' Land Yacht
Central , Florida
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 1,472
Images: 15
You didn't say if you had indoor work space, would make a big difference to have it weather proofed before the rebuild stage, determine ceiling joists and wall studs are sound, after framing and floor are back in then a/c would go in.

DaveFL is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Where not to buy an airstream scorpiontimo Off Topic Forum 25 04-27-2011 05:09 AM

Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:35 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.